Henrietta Lacks Building

It is exciting to know what the building named in honor of my grandmother, Henrietta Lacks, will look like from the outside captivating her legacy. The design reflects not only her strong and beautiful spirit but her important role she plays in the history, and future, of East Baltimore.

Jeri Lacks Whye Granddaughter of Henrietta Lacks and member of the Henrietta Lacks Building Advisory Committee

The northwest perspective rendering of the building named in honor of Henrietta Lacks. Credit: Vines Architecture

“The expression of this building is unique to its surroundings, as Henrietta Lacks was a unique African American human being in this world,” Victor Vines, president, and Robert Thomas, director of design of Vines Architecture, said in a statement.

Henrietta Lacks

The new multidisciplinary building on the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore campus will honor Henrietta Lacks, who was the source of the HeLa cell line that has been critical to numerous advances in medicine.

The northeast perspective rendering of the building named in honor of Henrietta Lacks. Credit: Vines Architecture

The approximately 34,000 square-foot building will be located at the corner of Ashland and Rutland avenues in East Baltimore.

Henrietta Lacks Building: Honoring an enduring legacy

With a groundbreaking planned for fall of 2024, the Henrietta Lacks Building on the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore campus will support multidisciplinary and complementary programs of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, School of Medicine, and additional departments, as well as collaborative space for education, research, and meetings.

The building project is named in honor of Henrietta Lacks, the Baltimore County woman whose cells, known as HeLa cells, have advanced medicine around the world, from the development of the polio vaccine to the study of HPV, HIV/AIDS, and leukemia.

The Henrietta Lacks Building will be designed and managed by Vines Architecture and local Baltimore construction firm Mahogany, in conjunction with Turner Construction Company. Vines Architecture is an award-winning African American-owned firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mahogany is also an African American-owned firm and a graduate of the Hopkins BLocal BUILD College program.

The new building will adjoin Deering Hall, an existing historic structure that is home to the Berman Institute, and will be located at the corner of Ashland and Rutland avenues, in the heart of Baltimore’s Eager Park community. Construction is planned to start in the spring of 2025 and be completed in 2027.

Building highlights:

  • 34,000 square feet to support multidisciplinary and complementary programs of the Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and other university divisions
  • Flexible program and classroom space to support education and research
  • Meeting space made available for community use

In the news:

Johns Hopkins Presents Initial Design of Building Named in Honor of Henrietta Lacks to Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel — Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine presented the initial design plans for the on-campus building project named in honor of Henrietta Lacks during an Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel meeting for Baltimore City Planning.

Local and Minority-owned Businesses Lead Design, Construction Contracts for Building Named in Honor of Henrietta Lacks — The project aims to direct 30% of addressable spend to minority-owned and women-owned businesses, disadvantaged business enterprises, and local business enterprises.

Johns Hopkins Selects Architect for Early-Stage Planning of Multidisciplinary Building in Honor of Henrietta Lacks — After a rigorous vetting process, Johns Hopkins University officials announced their selection of Vines Architecture to lead the planning stages for a multidisciplinary building.

Johns Hopkins University to Name Building for Henrietta Lacks — The university will name a new interdisciplinary building after Henrietta Lacks, a Baltimore woman whose cells were the basis of research for numerous modern medical breakthroughs.